Saturday, January 15, 2011

Defining the "local church"

I have been thinking and writing about the biblical basis for denominations recently.  As I look at scripture the only reason I see for a body of believers to be divided is geography.  The church is one but it is located in different towns cities and nations.  Churches in the New Testament didn't divide from one another according to doctrines, races, spiritual gifts or musical preferences.  There were no membership classes or votes to be accepted.  There were no confessional statements that everyone agreed on.  The only thing that distinguished one church from another is the city they were in.

Alan Knox has published a re-post of a blog he wrote some time back that asks the question "what is a local church?"  Click the link to read the entire article.  Alan asks some very significant questions that I think are directly related to the denominations we see in churches today.  Here are just a few questions to spark your interest.  I'm especially interested in how those of you who defend denominations would answer these questions.
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “local church”?
Do you think of a building on the corner with a steeple? Most believers will admit that this is not a church, but may be a building where a church meets. But, what about the people who meet there?
Is the local church a group of believers who meet regularly at a specific place and at a specific time? Does a regularly meeting define a “local church”? Again, most believers will accept that someone may be part of a “local church” even if that person cannot meet at each regularly scheduled meeting. So, what about membership?

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As in a biblical church gathering, my word is not complete or final. Participation is allowed, encouraged and expected. Please, don't leave without adding something.